This eco-friendly app reduces food waste by offering discounted meals at local restaurants
Selling uneaten food at a discount has been a common practice for bakeries over the years, but even unloading a basket of discounted muffins every day has done little to properly address the issues of food waste epidemic. This is because food waste has gotten out of hand.
Need proof? According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about a third of the food is wasted in the world, which is about $ 1.3 trillion in food thrown away each year. And in the United States alone, 40% of edible foods are not even eaten. If you’ve ever thrown a wilted head of lettuce out of your crisper just to replace it with a new one doomed to repeat that spell, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
To make matters worse, restaurants and food producers often throw away perfectly edible foods at a higher rate, thanks to laws prohibiting donations (for alleged food security reasons) and other obstacles that make it very difficult to take out food that may be slightly below the maximum quality. But as many of us know, a quick go to the toaster works wonders on a multi-day old bagel, and even that. roast chicken that has been in your fridge for a few days can be turned into a tasty chicken salad.
There’s no question that eliminating food waste is a challenge with a myriad of permanent obstacles, but one app is trying to make it easier than ever to prevent hour-old croissants and sandwiches from going straight to discharge. The application, called Too good to go, helps restaurants and grocers sell their expiring product to consumers at a significant discount.
Too Good To Go was launched in Copenhagen in 2016 and is growing rapidly abroad and in major US markets like New York, Seattle and the Bay Area. Founder Lucie Basch thought of the idea for the app when she was in a bakery and saw perfectly good food get thrown away at the end of the day. Basch asked if she could save the treats and was surprised at the response. The baker explained that he was unable to donate the food (due to food safety and legal reasons), so Basch bought the end of day product at a great price. a willing stomach.
“It blew up a light bulb,” says Basch. “This is something that could happen every night at any local grocery store. It’s been five years since that day and we’ve saved over 71 million meals with this super simple concept.” Since the inception of the app, some of Basch’s favorite foods include cornbread, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and chunky prime rib from Hudson Smokehouse in the Bronx, plus a surprise bag – this what Too Good To Go calls uneaten food – filled with hummus, pitas, tabbouleh, pastries and Malabi from San Francisco restaurant Oren’s Hummus.
Too Good To Go, which is free to download and join, offers just about everything: think of bags filled with nearly fresh bagels from bagel stores in the early afternoon, to a pepperoni pie from a Brooklyn pizzeria that hasn’t sold after midnight. And that’s not all ! Grocery stores pack their products that are about to expire (hello, Banana bread!) while sushi restaurants can make sure their food doesn’t go to waste by unloading leftover nigiri and buns at closing time.
Prices for the surprise bags start at $ 4.99, which means that in addition to saving food that would otherwise be wasted, Too Good To Go provides an affordable option for those who might not be able to spend the money. total amount for the meal earlier in the day. . “While there’s nothing stopping restaurants from selling end-of-day products at a discounted price, Too Good To Go helps remind restaurants they have this option, and our solution makes it easy for them to connect with consumers. who wish to save. their surplus products, ”says Basch.
To get restaurants on board, Too Good To Go’s “waste warriors” visit local restaurants, cafes and grocery stores in person. “We were able to sit down and have good conversations with these companies about the food waste problem and how we can all contribute to the solution,” adds Basch. “From the overwhelmingly positive interactions we have had so far, it is clear that people in the food industry really want to resolve this issue. It has been such a rewarding experience to bring in new partners and bring them on board. see having an immediate impact in the fight against food waste. “
For restaurateurs and others who are well aware of the amount of food not consumed each day, Too Good To Go is a welcome solution. “Food is how we express love in Taiwanese culture and we share our love for the community through our menu, which is made with carefully prepared local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients,” notes Judy Ni, owner of Philadelphia’s bāo * logy. “Joining Too Good To Go gives us the opportunity to continue to do our part in building a more sustainable culinary ecosystem.”
Too Good To Go was also another way to manage inventory and sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the restaurant industry was unpredictable at best. “I love the concept and the overall mission. After opening Nûrish last year, I realized how difficult it is to maintain a small, sustainable business in New York, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.” , Elijah Bah, owner of To feed, Explain. “We are looking for all possible means to cover the costs. Too Good To Go helps small businesses like mine earn something for food that would be thrown away or donated, and connects us with customers to buy the food at a small fraction of the cost. It’s rewarding to be part of a startup whose goal is to help small businesses solve their food waste issues.
The majority of Too Good To Go’s surprise bags contain fresh, prepared, perishable food, which would otherwise be thrown away at the end of the day without the users of the app. “While a few slices of pizza, an extra sushi roll, or a mix of pastries may not seem like a lot of food to throw in the trash at closing time, when multiplied by all the food establishments in the world. whole, the amount of food waste created is surprising, ”shares Basch. “By creating a network of partners and consumers focused on combating food waste, we have not only made saving these small amounts of consumer-sized food as easy as throwing them in the trash, but we have also created a global food waste movement. . [Currently,] The Too Good To Go waste warriors avoid wasting more than 160,000 meals a day. “